As I write this, my brother and I are on an emergency trip to Florida.
Our dad broke a hip.
Also suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and dementia, our dad had surgery and is now in a rehabilitation center.
The future is uncertain. And I am scared. My mom is also understandably frightened about what 2016 holds. If I think too much about this upcoming year, I jump to hasty conclusions about my dad’s outcome. Despite my fear, though, I realize that while I cannot control what ultimately happens to my dad, I have the power to choose how to handle this situation.
With 2016 right around the corner, this is time to recalibrate and transform myself into a more mindful person. My last post was all about mindfulness and living in the present. Now I must practice what I preach, starting here in Florida.
I take long early morning walks here. I savor everything I sense: from plants, flowers, animals, and palm trees, as I slowly breathe in the subtropical scents. Slowing down to appreciate all the beauty as I get my exercise in is incredibly calming to me. And it helps me collect myself on the many visits to my father.
Now, during this crucible, it is more important than ever to live in the present moment and not jump hastily onto the road of future possibilities. I can’t help anyone if I don’t help and take care of myself first. That’s partly why I have forced myself not to slip into the abyss of depression. I eat all my meals, get enough sleep, and exercise. I’ve got to ignore my inner voices that tell me I’m selfish for thinking of myself so much. Truth is, if I succumb to depression and anxiety, then I cannot be helpful to my parents.
I must also sit with uncertainty. This is incredibly difficult to do. Jonathan Fields’ excellent book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance has taught me the importance of being able to accept — and even embrace — uncertainty. Easier said than done, I know. But the reality is that nobody is exempt from the unknown. Rather than panic about the future, I choose to “lean into uncertainty,” as Fields recommends.
I continue to seek courage each day. In 2016, I will need it in abundance. I hope I can be brave enough to help my mom make the right decisions on my dad’s behalf. I must draw on courage and strength to sit with uncertainty and to advocate for my parents.
And I don’t mean to sound selfish here, but prior to my dad’s breaking his hip, I was working diligently on my manuscript for an upcoming book. I’d been planning to launch my book in summer 2016. I’ve been working on the book for years and I want to finally publish it. But with my dad’s medical situation, I feel like shelving this goal altogether.
But I need to draw on mindfulness, as well as coping with uncertainty and courage, to continue with my book with the goal of launching in 2016. Perhaps this will be a good distraction from all the emotional pain I’m in right now.
So my three words for 2016 are mindfulness, uncertainty, and courage. I may falter, but I will be faithful to these words.
To all my dear readers, have a wonderful New Year filled with health and joy.
What are your words for 2016?
What are your plans/goals/resolutions for the upcoming year?
Tags: courage, hip fracture, Jonathan Fields, Jonathan Fields Uncertainty, mindfulness, uncertainty